Obese Toddlers Show Warning Signs

Photo: Little boy smiling and eating ice cream

Soon after birth, biomarkers hint
at a possible cardiovascular
event decades later; © SXC

In addition, the study found elevated levels of two other inflammatory markers in obese children: elevated F/T levels started at age six and elevated ANC levels were found starting at age nine. “These findings were a surprise to us,” said lead author Asheley Cockrell Skinner. “We’re seeing a relationship between weight status and elevated inflammatory markers much earlier than we expected.”

Skinner and fellow researchers arrived at these findings after analyzing data from 16,335 children ages one to 17 year collected from 1999 to 2006. The children were grouped into four categories based on their body mass index: healthy weight, overweight, obese and very obese.

Under this scheme, a 3.5-year-old who is 39 inches tall and weighs 34 pounds would be in the healthy weight category while a child of the same age and height weighing 43 pounds would be considered very obese. In the group of children analyzed, nearly 70 percent were healthy weight, 15 percent were overweight, eleven percent were obese and 3.5 percent were very obese.

Among very obese children ages three to five, more than 40 percent (42.5 percent) had elevated CRP compared to only approximately 17 percent of healthy weight children. Among older children the difference was even more pronounced. In ages 15 to 17, 83 percent of the very obese had elevated CRP compared to 18 percent of the healthy weight. The study concludes that weight status and elevated inflammatory markers are strongly related, even in young children, and further research should examine the impact of long-term, low-grade inflammation in overweight and obese children.

“In this study we were unable to tease apart whether the inflammation or the obesity came first, but one theory is that obesity leads to inflammation which then leads to heart and vessel disease later on,” said Perrin, senior author of the study.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine